Westerner Days is right around the corner and officials are gearing up for the event.
Westerner Days takes place July 17-21 at Westerner Park.
“There’s definitely a buzz of excitement around here where we are busy planning everything,” said Meghan Gustum, marketing manager.
The event kicks off with the annual pancake breakfast in the parking lot of Bower Place Shopping Centre on July 13 at 8 a.m. More then 8,000 people attend that event.
A colourful parade will take place downtown at 9:30 a.m. on July 17 followed by entertainment, the midway featuring 38 rides, including 16 thrill rides, 13 family rides and nine kiddie rides and pony chuckwagons that run through until July 21.
A number of attractions for young and old are slated for the week and include country-crooner Dean Brody who will hit the Centrium stage on July 20, the 19th St. Market where a number of vendors will be on hand to sell their wares and a family fun zone where kids will enjoy a petting zoo, arts and crafts as well as various games.
Shows will also run throughout each day including Super Dogs Wild Wild Woof where spectators will see dogs do extreme agility, The West Coast Lumberjack show, Doo Doo the Clown, Bandaloni and the Copper Cowboy, among others.
A number of rides for kids, youth and adults will be found on the midway. And the popular pony chuckwagons also take place nightly at 6 p.m. with the finals getting started at 2 p.m. on July 21.
For those with an interest in agriculture, a variety of shows and competitions will also be held.
Westerner Days will host a miniature horse show, a miniature donkey show, the Alberta Goat Classic as well as beef shows.
“There are a lot of things to discover at Westerner Days from entertainment to food and concerts,” said Gustum. “We’ve got some new attractions and some old favourites.”
A number of off-site events will also be happening over the course of Westerner Days including daily pancake breakfasts, a chili cook-off competition, show and shines and more.
Ride All Day passes, formerly known as Ticket to Ride, will be sold at participating Central Alberta Mac’s locations beginning June 14 and ending July 16. This pass is $32 and includes the cost of the gate admission and gives purchasers unlimited rides for one day.
“These are popular and we encourage people to get them early,” said Gustum. “People can save up to $16 as opposed to buying everything on the grounds.”
Kid’s Day will take place July 18 where children 12 and under get free gated entry until 6 p.m. and Family Day on July 21 where a carload of up to six people will get into Westerner Days for $25, including parking. Kids aged 12 and under can ride all day for $15.
Meanwhile, last year, 102,665 people walked through the gates during Westerner Days. Of that number, 46% of the visitors were from outside of the Red Deer area, officials said.
“This year we anticipated that Westerner Days will generate a gross economic impact of roughly $7.3 million for our region,” said Kent Olson, president of the Westerner board of directors.
There is a new program that will take place in conjunction with Westerner Days as well. ‘We All Play’ will provide complimentary passes and parking to 125 Central Alberta families that may not have been otherwise able to enjoy a day at the fair.
For more information check out www.westernerdays.ca.